Hey guys! College orientation is a BIG deal. So big in fact, that I am writing a whole new post about it! I wrote a post about orientation last year, but wanted to build on it and add even more value! You can see the old post here, but this post has everything in that post plus more!
So why is college orientation such a big freakin deal? It’s your first time really being on campus. Orientation is your first taste of college life! I still remember how terrified I was. I had no idea what to expect or how to prepare. I’m writing this post so you don’t have the same stress, and you can waltz into your orientation ready to rock! (Don’t really waltz, that might be weird).
Be ready for a lot of ice-breaker games with your college orientation group – some that are fun, some that are silly, some are even downright embarrassing. You’ll feel weird and awkward, but so will everyone else, so it will be a bonding experience. You’re going to learn a lot about these 10-20 people, and chances are once school starts you’ll never see them again. I go to a mid-sized university. I have only ever run into one person from my orientation group. (So don’t stress about it)
There are going to be a lot of informational sessions, and it might feel really overwhelming. Often, they will split you and your parents up to go to different events. Be prepared to only see your parents at meals! Take a small notebook and a pencil to take notes. Sometimes there are handouts, but it always helps me to take additional notes so I don’t miss anything. College orientation is intended to get you ready for college. This information is vital for your success!
During orientation, you will also schedule classes for the fall semester. (Check out my post all about that!) if you have the time, look through the classes you need for your major, and maybe have some idea of what you want to take. Be ready, however, to get stuck in only general ed courses. As freshman, you are the last students to register, and more classes in your major and minor are likely full. It stinks, but that’s just they way it works.
Being on Campus
You’re probably going to feel lost on campus. Unless you grew up where your college is, it is unlikely that you will know where everything is. You’ll feel okay when you’re in a group, but you’re just praying that you won’t get separated and have to find something on your own. My second day of orientation, I woke up early and wandered around campus to get a feel for it. I got lost, but it really helped me get my bearings and understand where everything was. Pull up a map on your phone and wander when you have extra time!
If you have the chance to stay in a dorm for your orientation – DO IT. I actually got to stay in the actual dorm building I was going to be living in. Even if it’s a different building, it gives you a great look at what dorm life will look like!
Be ready for a million strangers. A million might be a slight exaggeration. There will be a lot of people though! A college, depending on its size, has to funnel a lot of freshman through a few college orientation programs. Everywhere you go for the next few days is going to be packed. There will be tour groups, lines to get your info packets, crowded dining halls, and more. It might be overwhelming, especially if you don’t know anyone. I recommend trying to stay close to your group leader. They drop really helpful tips, and are paid to answer any questions you have! Have some questions ready when you come so you can make sure to get them answered.
If you bring parents with you, they will probably cry. Mine didn’t (I’m the fourth and last daughter to leave home – they were probably jumping for joy), but a lot of parents did. Especially if you are the first child, or an only child. Let them cry. You’re going to miss them when you’re sick and mom isn’t there to take care of you. (P.S. they’re going to cry at move-in too, just accept it). If you have any say in it, don’t bring younger siblings with you. They tend to get bored and ruin the experience, because they aren’t invested. I saw this happen to a lot of people in my orientation group.
I’m going to drop some honesty on you here. You’re probably not going to be friends with the people in your group once orientation is over. They stick 10-20 nervous pre-freshmen together, and you all cling to each other desperately. You’ll all become friends on Facebook, and then never see each other once school starts. I met up one time with my orientation friends, and then we realized we didn’t have that much in common. We were friends born of necessity, and the need was no longer there. Now – I’m not saying this will happen to you. I also met a lot of people who met their best friend in orientation – be open and willing to make friends. Just don’t be surprised if you don’t stay friends once classes start.
Random College Orientation Tips
- Wear comfy shoes and clothes. You will be trekking all over campus and playing active games. Don’t be that person who complains about their flip flops all day. Wear layers also, because going inside an air conditioned building after working up a sweat is chill inducing.
- Wear deodorant. Like, a lot of it. My orientation was late July, and it was so stinking hot. I should have just carried a stick around with me.
- Wear a backpack or a small purse. I carried a somewhat large purse that was so frustrating to lug all over campus. I wish I had worn a cross body or a backpack so I didn’t have to deal with the giant bag.
- If you have room, carry a hairbrush and blotting sheets. Chances are, after a day of being outside and touring campus, they are going to take you to get your ID photo taken. That photo stays with you for the next 4 years. My hair is frizzy as heck from the heat, and my forehead is straight shiny. Don’t make my mistakes, friends, just don’t.
Remember that you get out of it what you put into it. I had a lot of fun and learned a lot at my orientation. I also saw a lot of students that acted too cool to care. If you let yourself by silly and active and ask questions, you will learn so much more! Orientation leaders work really hard all summer to make sure you have a good time. Open yourself up to the experience and fall in love with your school.
That’s all I have! Use your college orientation to get a feel for your school, get your questions answered, and feel a bit more ready for the coming years. You can do this!